CENTER FOR KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
SITE AREA: 2450 M2
CONSTRUCTION AREA: 1800 M2
CENTER FOR DIAGNOSTICS, MEDICAL CENTER, PHYSIOTHERAPY, HYDROTHERAPY, MONTESSORI CENTER.
Karin Dom is a house in the urban forest. Shaped by the nature, for the children. Tucked away inside the pulsating center of Varna, the site for the new Karin Dom reveals itself as a secret garden. Long gone are the days as a manicured garden, and today, the two green patches resemble most of all a miniature urban forest with its variety of trees, bushes, and shrubs. It is, therefore, a crucial task to integrate the architecture of the new Karin Dom in a way that keeps the ambience of the site, and to form a close and intimate interplay between building, people, and nature.
The architectural volume is conceived from a wish to preserve as much biodiversity and touch of the site as possible. This is done by tracing the periphery of the big sycamore, nettle, ash and linden trees, keeping a safe distance in order not to harm their roots during construction and allowing this to become the outline of the new building’s footprint. On the north side, a drop-off, big enough to allow the cars to leave the same way as they arrived, is integrated and cut out from the building’s footprint. The geometric gesture of the drop-off is mirrored along the long axis of the design and becomes a playground. The close connection between the location of the existing trees and the way the new Karin Dom organically meanders along them, creates a feeling of a building that has always been there and nature grown around it, when in fact it is the other way around.
By preserving the deciduous species on the site alone, a passive sustainable collaboration between nature and architecture is formed. The tree canopies provide lots of shade during the warm months and allow more direct and indirect light to reach the building in the cold months. This reduces the need for mechanical cooling in summer, and heating in winter. The close connection to trees is continued in the materials chosen for the design. The building is constructed almost entirely from CLT, a material, that from a sustainably point of view, is unmatched by any other building material. The wood lamella façade is desgned to allow undisturbed views from the inside, while still appearing dense and tactile from the outside. A system of a raised floor, on all levels, allows for invisible integration of mechanical ventilation, providing fresh and tempered air through vents in the floor. Polluted air is retrieved from outlets in the ceiling, and through a heat exchanger, the heat is recirculated through the building, reducing electricity demand. The use of natural materials continue on all interior surfaces. The remaining walls and ceilings are left with the exposed CLT wood, but stained white in order to control miscolouring over time. There is no surface or part of the building that children are in contact with, that is not made from natural and sustainable materials. Modular furniture used inside the facility rooms is also mainly made from wood and fitted to children size.